REVIEW: Dairy Queen Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Party Blizzard

Once you reach a certain age, the word “party” takes on a different meaning. As a kid, the parties were non-stop: frequent birthday parties at school, pizza parties after your T-ball team finished last in the league, and a party just because the ice cream truck was in the neighborhood and all your friends got together. In high school and college, some people just needed a time and a place, and the party was on.

But after that, things change, especially if you have kids. Who’s going to babysit, what’s the parking situation like, is the party location more than 10 minutes from my house? If you’ve reached that stage in your life in terms of parties, the good news is that the new Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Party Blizzard has arrived, and there’s no need to have someone watch the kids, unless you don’t want them to get a sugar high.

This creation, a party of the Summer Blizzard Menu, is loaded with sugar in the form of chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter topping, peanut brittle crunch, and sprinkles. I’m going to assume you are familiar with the first two components, as cookie dough and peanut butter topping are mainstays of the Blizzard family. They both do a solid job here. The cookie dough is soft and chewy with a hint of chocolate, and the peanut butter topping adds some extra creaminess to the vanilla soft serve base.

As for the peanut brittle, it’s a nice addition but not exactly mind-blowing. The pieces are quite small, sometimes even smaller than the sprinkles, and as such, they deliver more crunch than flavor, especially in a mixture that already has peanut butter topping. If you do zero in on a piece of peanut brittle, there is a slightly different peanut buttery flavor compared to the topping, but it really doesn’t stand apart. The sprinkles add some color and crunch, but they also don’t bring much in terms of flavor.

With a nice mix of chewy cookie dough, crunchy peanut brittle, and sprinkles, this Blizzard delivers some nice texture variation and a solid peanut butter flavor with a hint of chocolate. It would have been better if the peanut brittle pieces were larger, but this Blizzard still delivers a satisfying party for your tastebuds without things getting out of hand.

Purchased Price: $4.19
Size: Small
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 880 calories, 39 grams of fat, 18 grams of saturated fat, 1 gram of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 490 milligrams of sodium, 120 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 87 grams of sugar, and 17 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Dairy Queen Ultimate Cookie Blizzard

I am by no means an expert on calendars. Yes, I can name the 12 months in order and even know which ones have 30 or 31 days. OK, I mostly know. August always gets me. I also know that early April is what people like to refer to as spring, and summer doesn’t come around until sometime in June. The fine folks at Dairy Queen apparently know even less than I do about how a calendar works, as they have just released their Summer Blizzard Menu, which includes three new concoctions and three returning flavors. After trying the new Ultimate Cookie Blizzard, I am quite happy about DQ’s complete disregard for chronology.

As you might have guessed, the Ultimate Cookie is loaded with cookies, and I mean loaded. It includes Oreo, Chips Ahoy, and Nutter Butter cookies, and the ultimate moniker of this version is spot-on. This might be the crunchiest Blizzard I’ve ever had, and that made it delightful. Every bite had the satisfying texture of the soft serve offset by a constant cookie crunch.

As for the taste, that also landed in the ultimate range. The Oreo cookies bring that famous chocolate flavor that is a part of so many Blizzard combinations, and the Nutter Butter cookies contribute a strong peanut butter taste but in a different way compared to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love having PB cups in a Blizzard, but Nutter Butter might be even better. They seem to provide a more robust peanut butter flavor that can stand up to the chocolate without being secondary, as PB cups can sometimes be because they also contain chocolate. This Blizzard gave me more of a chocolate and peanut butter vibe than an Oreo and PB cup version.

And I didn’t forget about the Chips Ahoy. Actually, I kind of did. I saw evidence of their inclusion in the blend, but other than bringing some added crunch, it was hard to pick out the Chips Ahoy flavor compared to the Oreo and Nutter Butter.

Most fast food creations with ultimate or supreme in the name fail to deliver as promised, but this one does. If the words chocolate, peanut butter, and crunchy make you hungry, then you won’t want to miss this Blizzard. And thanks to DQ stretching the meaning of the word summer, you’ll have plenty of time to pick one up.

Purchased Price: $4.49
Size: Mini
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 480 calories, 20 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 67 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 49 grams of sugar, and 9 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Blue Bell Gooey Butter Cake Ice Cream

I must admit that I know precious little about the city of St. Louis. I know that arch thing is there, and…well, that’s about it. I did not know what people from St. Louis were called until just now, and even after finding out they are generally referred to as St. Louisans, I’m not sure exactly how to pronounce that. But I am proud to say that I have expanded my base of St. Louis knowledge a bit more, thanks to the new Gooey Butter Cake ice cream from Blue Bell.

It turns out that gooey butter cake, which are three words I’ve previously never typed together in my life, is a delightful, sugary treat that is native to St. Louis. I cannot explain why Texas-based Blue Bell decided to use it as its newest concoction, but I’m glad it did.

For those of you who are not St. Louisans or not well-versed in Midwestern culinary culture, gooey butter cake is a somewhat thin yellow cake that is dense like a brownie and often has a layer of cream cheese on top. The Blue Bell label describes this version as “cake batter ice cream combined with a luscious cream cheese swirl and rich gooey butter cake pieces.”

I would not have known the ice cream base was cake batter-flavored if not for the label, as it seemed to me just like the regular Blue Bell vanilla flavor. But the important parts of this ice cream are the cream cheese and gooey butter cake pieces, and they really deliver a home run. The cream cheese swirl is wonderfully silky and creamy with a strong cheesecake-like flavor, and you never know how much you will get because the color blends in almost seamlessly with the ice cream.

The cake pieces are a mixture of small, crumb-size morsels and larger square chunks, and that’s another mark in the plus column in my book. When you get a spoonful with just the crumb pieces, there is more than enough flavor to satisfy. And then, when you luck out and get a big nugget, you get to enjoy the chewy, buttery, sugary bliss it provides. After one bite, I regretted buying the pint size instead of the half-gallon, and I’m pretty sure the contents of my pint are not going to live to see tomorrow.

Having never eaten real gooey butter cake, I cannot say whether Blue Bell nailed the flavor profile with this ice cream. But it certainly nailed a delicious, creamy treat, and you can bet that if I ever find myself in St. Louis, that I’ll be hunting for some gooey butter cake. In the meantime, I’ll probably head back to the store and pick up a half-gallon.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: One pint
Purchased at: Brookshire Brothers
Rating: 9 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger

There are many things that pop into my mind when I think of Sonic: their magical, perfectly chewable ice nuggets, the amazing variety of drink and frozen treat options…and the time my wife spilled an entire Route 44 Cherry Coke on herself when she snagged the lid on the car door. Thankfully, she doesn’t read my reviews. She does not find nearly as much humor in that memory as I do.

One thing I don’t associate with Sonic is BBQ because, well, it’s Sonic. So I wasn’t sure what to expect when I ordered the new Sonic Pulled Pork BBQ Cheeseburger. To my mild surprise, it was quite good. Mind you, it’s not good like one of those BBQ places where you wait in line for 45 minutes and pray they don’t run out before you get to order, but if you have a hankering for some pulled pork and are pressed for time, this gets the job done.

This sandwich contains what you would expect based on the name — a burger patty, cheese, and pulled pork. The pork didn’t really wow me, but it was juicy and tender as it should be. It’s the little extras that make this shine. The meats are nestled in a pillowy, slightly sweet brioche bun with a blanket of pickles to add some crunch and acidic kick. Sonic claims it has “cherrywood smoke sauce,” which I quite enjoyed, despite detecting only the slightest hint of smoke flavor and certainly not enough for my palate to detect the type of tree from which any smoke might originate. The sauce did have a more complex flavor than what you might expect from a typical fast food BBQ condiment.

The end result was a juicy tag team of beef and pork with some tasty sauce that paired nicely with the pickles and mild cheese flavor. The great-tasting bun holds it all together beautifully. My only quibbles are that this thing is pretty salty, as the 1,590 milligrams of sodium confirms, and the $6.39 price tag seems a touch pricey, especially since mine wasn’t overflowing with pulled pork as the Sonic app led me to believe.

Sonic says this is a limited time item, so I plan to get it at least once or twice before it disappears. It’s also available as a simple pulled pork sandwich without the burger and as Totchos with cheese sauce, shredded cheese, pulled pork, and sauce on top of tots.

Purchased Price: $6.39
Rating: 8 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 700 calories, 40 grams of fat, 13 grams of saturated fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol, 1590 milligrams of sodium, 47 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of fiber, 14 grams of sugar, and 38 grams of protein.

REVIEW: Blue Bell Cinnamon Twist Ice Cream

Life is full of difficult decisions. For me, few are harder than…pint or half-gallon? Yes, I’m talking about ice cream container sizes. It’s quite a conundrum when I see a new flavor in the grocery store freezer. Should I save a few bucks and just get a pint, or be a high roller and pay up for the half-gallon? It’s not even the money so much. Anyone can power through a subpar pint, but if you get a half-gallon that is filled with disappointment, then it just sits in your freezer until that day many months later when you finally open it again to see it has turned an odd color and looks like the landscape of Siberia. The reason for this review’s unnecessarily long introduction is that I faced that decision when buying Blue Bell’s new Cinnamon Twist ice cream. I’m happy to report that I wisely chose the pint-sized version.

If you love cinnamon, as I do, you might think this is the perfect concoction with, according to the package, “brown sugar cinnamon ice cream with cinnamon bun dough pieces in a cinnamon icing swirl.” This ice cream is certainly not bad, and if you break into my house in a couple weeks to steal it from my freezer, it will probably be gone by then, but I don’t regret not going all in on the half-gallon.

The highlight of this ice cream is the cinnamon bun dough pieces. They are about the same size and shape as the various types of dough pieces that Dairy Queen uses in its Blizzards, and they are quite tasty. They are soft and chewy and have a touch of granular texture that really says sugary cinnamon bun dough. However, its friends, cinnamon ice cream and cinnamon icing swirl, sort of miss the mark. Luckily, the dough pieces were plentiful, but the flavor was lacking when I got a bite without one of those wonderful nuggets. And a taste of just ice cream with no bun pieces and no icing swirl had only a faint hint of cinnamon flavor.

Again, this ice cream is fine but also forgettable. If the label promises three different kinds of cinnamon, then it leads to the expectation of some kind of crazy cinnamon party for your taste buds. That’s where this one missed the mark a bit.

Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: Pint
Purchased at: Brookshire Brothers
Rating: 7 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: (2/3 cup) 280 calories, 13 grams of fat, 8 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 30 milligrams of cholesterol, 130 milligrams of sodium, 38 grams of carbohydrates, less than 1 gram of dietary fiber, 27 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of protein.